Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The Dream Has Ended

from the Contra Costa Times,

Come the playoffs, we were treated to the unprecedented spectacle of the top four seeds in the West getting flushed in the first round. The Edmonton Oilers woke up 14-year-old echoes by becoming the first No. 8 seed ever to advance as far as the conference finals. It was more than the Bettmanites at the league office had a right to expect. Some would say the NHL got far better than it deserved, given that it had gassed an entire season. It was as if the great hockey godfather in the sky had gathered everyone 'round after the labor impasse had passed and said, "We shall never speak of this again." But as it specifically states on page 873 of the current collective bargaining agreement (paragraph 12, subsection J; just after the part about the price of ice in Glendale, Ariz.): "There is no guarantee that a dream season shall end dreamily." And so it has come to pass for the NHL, which can only long for the days when the biggest problem with its Stanley Cup Finals matchup was that it featured media markets only slightly larger than Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan.
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Over The Boards

via the Globe and Mail

Still with Cherry, the wild floral design of his jacket was likened to a bedspread by host Ron MacLean. Ralph Mellanby, who hired Cherry for Hockey Night in 1981, said yesterday, "I think he's being dressed by Cirque du Soleil." The first game of the Stanley Cup final (Edmonton Oilers-Carolina Hurricanes) on the CBC drew 3.003 million viewers, down marginally (1 per cent) from the opener of the Calgary Flames-Tampa Bay Lightning final in 2004.
via the Toronto Star,
While most other pro hockey players who pursue endorsement contracts command between $10,000 (all figures U.S.) and $90,000 a year, Crosby is said to receive at least $500,000 per deal per year. (By contrast, the Penguins pay him $850,000 a year plus bonuses.) One person familiar with the matter said Crosby may garner as much as $600,000 from the Subway restaurant chain. (Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, said no deal has been finalized; He said he's still in talks with four restaurant chains and three domestic auto makers about Crosby.)
via the Edmonton Sun,
Gary James was led away in handcuffs Monday night from the RBC Center, simply for throwing a piece of Oilers good luck Alberta beef on the ice in Raleigh, North Carolina - as he and CISN's Chris Scheetz have done at most of the Oilers' away playoff games since the Detroit series. "I've got a court date now," says Gary. "It's all a little extreme for a practical joke. The handcuffs were a bit of a power play. Trying to make a statement about arena rules and the Oilers, I suspect."
via the Idaho Statesman,
We dug through all of the personalized plates in Idaho, almost 60,000, to find the best sports plates. Surprisingly, more NHL teams rated personalized plates than NBA teams.
via the Toronto Star,
Cherry let an expletive fly on air as a Carolina player skated close to him as he stood on the ice prior to the start of the Stanley Cup final opener. "Holy sh--!" Cherry exclaimed in an expletive heard across the country.
via Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Get ready for the return of The Dominator next season. Unless Senators GM John Muckler soon has a change of heart, there's a strong chance Dominik Hasek could be back with the club at training camp in September.

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A Different Type Of Fan

from the Rocky Mount Telegram,

Fans of the Carolina Hurricanes, who are in the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in five years, have never really been accepted by the hockey community. That is because they do things no other team's fanbase can claim or even fully understand. They tailgate for hours before each game, setting up picnic tables and lawn chairs in the parking lot of the RBC Center. They cheer every routine save, shot and body check. If you listen closely, you can hear small pockets of fans clapping every time 5-foot-10 Chad LaRose manages to clear the boards and jump back on the bench. They didn't sell out the Eastern Conference finals against Buffalo, and saw the amount of Sabres fans inside the RBC Center grow in each game. But here's the thing: They do love their Hurricanes. They just love them differently. They love them like a mother loves her child.
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Hockey Is Still Foreign To People

from Bob Foltman of the Chicago Tribune,

Now, one of the most interesting aspects of the Stanley Cup Finals and something that I missed dearly Monday is the press conference with Commissioner Gary Bettman before Game 1. This usually becomes "cup overflowing vs. cup bone dry." First of all, the ratings are not going to be good--unless of course there is a terrific thunderstorm stretching from one coast to another, forcing people to sit inside, knocking out the cable and satellite service and leaving just NBC available. Then maybe, just maybe, the ratings will be poor instead of wretched. The reason many give for low ratings--aside from the fact that Americans hate hockey and it's all Bettman's fault, as if the sport were turning away people because of its popularity before--is small-market teams in Carolina and Edmonton. That's true, but not because of the reasons many think.
read on

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OLN Ratings Game 1

via the NY Times,

The good news for OLN was that Game 1 produced a rating more than four times above its regular season average. The bad news was that the 0.9 rating was 23 percent lower than the 1.15 for Game 1 on ESPN in 2004. More significantly, viewership for the game fell 37 percent to 861,156.

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Brind’Amour Accused Of Cheating

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

The Oilers, in turn, have labelled Brind'Amour - the league's top faceoff man this season - a 'cheater' on faceoffs. Oilers centre Shawn Horcoff wasn't shy about saying that at all. Brind'Amour fared better than 80 percent on the draw, compared to about 30 percent for Horcoff. The Oilers argue this was made worse by the fact that Brind'Amour's a veteran who gets benefits from the linesmen.
read on...plus the goalie situation for Edmonton...

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Does OLN Favor Edmonton

Today Detroit radio listeners are getting a treat. First Peter Karmanos (see earlier post today) and now Aaron Ward on WDFN. Ward mentioned OLN is so pro Oilers. He mentioned he didn't know if Doc Emrick had enough time to take off his Buffalo Jersey to put on his Edmonton jersey. Funny, I really didn't notice much favoritism last night. Ward said he arrived at the arena yesterday at 4pm and the parking lot was one big party. A different type of crowd, but still fun. Aaron mentioned he did not think the penalty shot call last night was justified. Claims the Canes dman never closed his hand on the puck, just pushed it along with his fingertips. Ward said he was talking to Devorsky during the goalie change last night, Ward thinking the media would be all over the Canes for running Roloson. Devorsky told him that it was Bergeron who caused the collision and Ward mentioned the Oilers did a class move in the post-game by mentioning that and putting any controversy to rest. Special note to Detroit area fans- Aaron was asked about coming back to Detroit since he is an UFA after this season. He said he did not think he could live in the same city as Art Regner. He said Regner is not the hockey authority that people think he is.

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A Team Of Destiny

from the CP via the Globe and Mail,

The Stanley Cup has been projected the full length of the ice as part of the Carolina Hurricanes' video package during home games of the NHL playoffs this spring. A word is boldly displayed across the top of the magnificent silver trophy: DESTINY. It is, oh, so fitting. Few teams throughout the years have had fickle fate swing their way so significantly in the post-season.
continued

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Detroit Sports Talk Radio & The SCF

Over the last few days, the talking mouths have been asking, why isn't Detroit interested in the Stanley Cup Finals? They go on to blame OLN and Bettman for the lack of coverage, etc. But I know for a fact, 99% of southeastern Michigan has access to OLN. The real problem and this even was an issue during the regular season, is these guys don't have the hockey knowledge to present the facts to the fans and they only talk about topics that they consider "hot". My solution to this problem, get some hockey experts on the radio. Kevin Allen appears 2x a week and is always taking questions from fans, other than that, Scotty Bowman was on during the season, but no questions were allowed for Scotty. Also, Mickey Redmond appears on a FM station, and he too is bombarded with questions from hockey fans. The problem is they don't talk enough about it, never will, because the simple fact is they don't know enough about the game. Fans know that, and can only shake their heads when hearing some of the stuff that comes out of the talk radio guys. A perfect example just happened on WXYT. Art Regner was asked what is going on with Steve Yzerman. Art's response, " I haven't talked to him in a couple of weeks, I don't know what his plans are". Thanks for that update Art. update 4:16pm, Peter Karmanos called in and stated the league is going to make record revenue, in part due to the value of the Canadian dollar lately. He said OLN is going above and beyond what the league expected. It was not like they had a choice, ESPN did not want the NHL. Plus ESPN only promotes what ESPN wants to promote. NBC has promises the NHL will be at the top of the sporting world on their station, so they are very happy with the TV relationship. He was asked about winning the SC by default due to the injury to Roloson. He said that a team never wins like that, you have to make sure you have good backup players. He pointed out Cole is out but you don't hear them complaining about that. He mentioned he would be a very proud person if the Canes were able to hold the cup. They started out on the bottom, so it would be very rewarding. Karmanos did state it has been a quite year for Detroit hockey this year, due to the Pistons success. He sees hockey taking over again next year, with the cap going up, Wings will get back into the swing of things. He also mentioned the NHL will continue to tweak the rules. Talked about the puck over the glass rule, then he brought up the fact that the Canes were called for a "new rule" hooking penalty two minutes after the call on Buffalo, but Karmanos said Buffalo "declined" to score on that power play. Talked about Goodenow, said he was hellbent on destroying the league. The NHL had to step up to do something to change what was going on. He claims the NHL offered the same deal they signed to Goodenow four years ago and he refused to look at it. Goodenow kept on claiming the teams were hiding money. Well, Karmanos speaks his mind today, nothing held back!!!

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Oiler Ride Turning Into A Pumpkin

from Opinion 250,

Prior to the series I stated on the radio that Carolina will win this series in 6 games. One game certainly does not secure my prediction, but the early indication is that midnight is approaching on Edmonton’s Cinderella Story. If the Hurricanes move on to win the championship, the so-called Oiler fans will go back in the closet. However, if Edmonton rallies, completes the unthinkable, and defies all odds to capture the Stanley Cup, then Santa Claus is actually alive and well in the month of June. Regardless of the final outcome, the “true” Oiler fans will continue to enjoy the ride. After all, while this Edmonton team is good, they may not be good enough to even make next year's playoffs.
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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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